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What’s your favorite beach?

Beach
St. John’s got dozens of beaches and after a few visits, you begin to have favorites.  Xislandgirl, an active member at Virgin Islands On-Line, decided to ask fellow forumites where they liked to catch some rays and snorkel for Blue Tangs. 

The winners?  Among the choices on the ballot, Hawksnest limped into first place with 18% of the votes, beaten badly by "Other’s" 61%.

In this week’s podcast, Xislandgirl says she was surprised that HER favorite appears to be lots of others’ perfect place, and she didn’t even put it on the ballot: Francis Bay.  Some may fault it for no see-ums, but you have to love it for the lack of crowds and the fantastic patrolling Pelicans.

Hear Islandgirl, a.k.a. DeeDee from Connecticut, talk about the island’s best beaches. Click the play button below.

You can download or hear the file by clicking here.

You can also subscribe to News of St. John’s weekly podcast by going to the Apple iTunes Music Store and searching for "news of st. john," or you can copy the words feeds.feedburner.com.stjohn and paste them into the subscribe field under the iTunes software’s "Advanced" tab.  You can also use that Feedburner link to subscribe in other podcatching software.  If you’re having a problem, e-mail: [email protected].

Club Med calls on St. John

Pic_clubmed
Who knew Club Med does cruises?  Turns out they sure do, and one of its ships, Club Med 2, is in port on St. John today.  (The photo is not from Cruz Bay – it’s off the Cruise Critic Web site.)

The crew is French/English, and the ship can accommodate almost 400 people.  Its a new breed of ship that combines computer-assisted sailing with traditional engines.  Because she’s relatively small, as cruise ships go, 610 feet long, she can call on smaller islands, like St. John. 

CruiseCritic.com describes the experience: "Much like the resorts, Club Med 2 emphasizes fitness and physical activities. At the stern of the vessel is the sports platform, which enables passengers to water-ski, windsurf and SCUBA dive right off the back of the boat. The ship also offers a fitness room with aerobics. Other activities include a piano bar, karaoke, sauna and massage."

Is it good or bad that small cruise ships are calling on St. John?
 
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Park Rangers ticketing at Maho Bay

Park Service Rangers are putting tickets on vehicles parked along the road at Maho Bay Beach, according to the St. John Source.  In the past, it was possible for a number of cars to pull off the side of the road and straddle the asphalt and the shoulder.  But with the island’s winter season in full heat, parking’s becoming tough everywhere.  "You can’t find a place to park anywhere in town," said Gale Spring, a Floridian.

Chief Ranger Mark Marschall told the Source parking enforcement is "not anything new," and that previously people got warnings.  Now it’s tickets.  The Ranger said it’s understandable if people are surprised by fines, since "We’re trying to avoid having signs."  He said parked vehicles can cause damage to trees and brush.  Marschall suggested people take a taxi to Maho Bay instead of driving and trying to find a parking space.

Friends of the Park seminars a ‘must do’

Ipod_4 The Friends of the Virgin islands National Park seminar series is more popular than ever.  Friends president Joe Kessler said 27 programs are scheduled from January to April.  "People need to call us as soon as they know when they’ll be on island, to make reservations," Kessler said.  "A day in advance is not going to cut it."

In this week’s St. John Podcast, Kessler talked about the Friends seminars, what’s new at the Cinnamon Bay archaeological dig, and the volunteer guides who answer questions at Annaberg Plantation.

Listen to the podcast by clicking the play button below.

You can download or hear the file, also, by clicking here.

You can also subscribe to News of St. John’s weekly podcast by going to the Apple iTunes Music Store and searching for "news of st. john," or you can copy the words feeds.feedburner.com.stjohn and paste them into the subscribe field under the iTunes software’s "Advanced" tab.  You can also use that Feedburner link to subscribe in other podcatching software.  If you’re having a problem, e-mail: [email protected].

VI National Park: “Reasonable year”

More than 100 people attending the annual meeting of the Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park heard a modest State of the Park address from Resources Management Chief Rafe Boulon. He said 2006 was a "reasonably good year … despite level funding and cost increases, the St. John Source reported.

Boulon might have added that other handicaps included the resignation of Park Supt. Art Frederick and a short "acting superintendency" of Walter Chavez.  He recently returned to his full time post on Puerto Rico.  A new acting superintendent, Catherine Light, arrived on island during the weekend.

Read moreVI National Park: “Reasonable year”

Park party draws notables

Lots of self-patting on the back at the weekend’s 50th anniversary parties for the Virgin Islands National Park.  The Virgin Islands Daily News
estimated the cost of the new garden exhibit highlighting the role of
philanthropy in the Park service at $60,000.  That makes me smile. You
spend 60K to thank people for donating to a good cause.  Is an exhibit
a good cause?

Mary Bomar, director of the National Park Service, was
the keynote speaker.  She said a Stewardship Action Plan is being
developed to project ocean parks, engage visitors in stewardship, and
establish a "seamless network" of parks, wildlife refuges, marine
sanctuaries and research reserves, the Daily News reported.

Interim Park Supt. ready for anniversary

Celebrations observing the 50th birthday of the Virgin Islands
National Park
this weekend include dedication of a new memorial garden
near the National Park Service building and a fund raising dinner at
Caneel Bay

Representing the Park will be Walter Chavez, the interim
superintendent, who will be on the job through most of the winter while
a permanent head of the VINP is recruited.  Chavez’s last posting was
at the San Juan National Historic Site.

Governor’s site boosts travel

HomebackgroundThe government has launched a new Web site designed to encourage vacationers to visit the Virgin Islands.  Information about the beauty, cultural pride and economic opportunities of the Virgin Islands are found on the promotional site, www.GovernorTurnbull.net, designed by a New York communications firm as part of a $50,000 contract. 

"Part of our mandate was to project the territory nationally," said Lonnie Soury, president of Soury Communications. "We want people to see the Virgin Islands in the aspect of the national and global picture."

Soury told the Virgin Islands Daily News the web site is now being promoted to the financial community and national media outlets in New York and Washington.